Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi overcame a sluggish start to sail into the Australian Open mixed doubles finals for second consecutive year as they beat Czechs Iveta Benesova and Lukas Dlouhy in straight sets in Melbourne on Friday. The Indians, who were runner-up at the Melbourne Park last year, trailed 1-3 in the opening set before storming back to seal the issue in 54 minutes.

In the summit clash, they will take on the unseeded French-Israeli combine of Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram, who stunned seventh seeded Spaniards Anabel Medina Garrigues and Tommy Robredo 7-6 (9/7) 6-4. It was hardly the kind of start Sania and Bhupathi, who have dropped just one set en route to the semis, would have wanted as Benesova and Dlouhy broke them in the opening game to race to a 1-3 lead.

However, the Indians got their act together soon after and broke back twice to take the first set in 32 minutes. Sania and Bhupathi continued their dominance in the second set and broke their rivals thrice. Such was their hold over the proceedings that the Indians did not face a single break point in the second set, which they wrapped up in a mere 22 minutes.


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